UPDATED, November 12, 11:30 p.m.: The fierce political battle over Proposition 10 appeared to turn dangerous over the weekend. A statewide tenant advocacy group says its San Diego office was burned down in connection with its support for the rent-control measure, which failed at the ballot box last week.
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment claimed that “unknown arsonists” vandalized and burned down its Chula Vista office just after midnight on Saturday morning — three days after Proposition 10 was defeated at the ballot box.
The Chula Vista Police Department confirmed it responded to a call at the office and has opened an arson investigation into the incident.
The Alliance said they found T-shirts supporting Prop 10 outside the office that had been burned separately, suggesting the fire was related to its efforts to pass Prop 10.
The office was closed and nobody was injured in the blaze, but the office was “burnt beyond recovery,” according to a statement. “Computers were melted, the furniture was burnt beyond use, and the equipment of the office were completely destroyed,” the statement said.
The ACCE was one of the organizations, along with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the lead proponent of Proposition 10, that filed a proposal for the ballot initiative in October 2017. The ballot, which failed with just 38 percent of voters supporting it, would have repealed a state law that limited rent control laws around the state. That would have allowed local governments to pass sweeping new rent control laws.
The fight over Prop 10 was fierce. Real estate interests contributed the majority of the $76 million spent to fight the measure. Much of that money was spent on a media blitz to sway voters. The AHF donated nearly all of the $25 million raised to pass it. Opponents claimed the measure would devastate the multifamily industry and do more harm for renters than good. Proponents said it was the only way to preserve affordable housing in the state.
ACCE has already raised nearly $2,000 of a $3,000 stated goal to contribute to the Chula Vista chapter to help continue operations.
The group was defiant on Monday.
“If this is an act to intimidate us, we will not back down,” it said in its statement. “They just put more fire under us to keep going.”